An extract from the book 40 Strange Groups

One of the banes of modern life is the number of motivational quotes that are thrown at us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Previously, these famous words had only been available on posters. Their usage is increasing. Take these famous Confucius quotations:

  • It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
  • Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
  • I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
  • Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
  • By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
  • I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.
  • Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
  • When anger rises, think of the consequences.
  • When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
  • Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Who has verified that these quotes were actually written, or possibly spoken, by Confucius himself? Well, the answer to this question is the Verifying Famous Quotes Society, as explained by their chief researcher Larry Fortnum, who said “We have people who comb through all the famous person’s works and find the exact place where the quotation first appeared. This is sometimes an epic struggle as language has changed over the centuries and the originals of some works are no longer extant, so the earliest copies have to be found. Some sayings are passed down by word of mouth only and, if this is the case, we have to emphasize this whenever the quotation is used.”